IRIS Crimson

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The IRIS Crimson is an older SGI system released in the early 1990s. It was the world's first 64-bit workstation.

Crimson was a member of Silicon Graphics's IRIS 4D series of deskside systems; it was also known as the 4D/510 workstation. It was similar to other SGI IRIS 4D deskside workstations, and could utilise a wide range of graphics options (up to RealityEngine). It was also available as a file server with no graphics. This machine was made famous with its brief cameo in the movie Jurassic Park where the granddaughter of Hammond, Lex, was using the machine to navigate the filesystem in 3D on IRIX 4.0 using the IRIX application FSN in order to restore power to the compound.

Features

An SGI Crimson, complete with Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse and Optional potted plant.
  • One superpipelined MIPS 100 MHz R4000 or 150 MHz R4400 processor;
  • Choice of seven high performance 3D graphics subsystems deliver performance and features to match any application;
  • Up to 256 MB memory and internal disk capacity up to 7.2 GB, expandable to greater than 72 GB using additional enclosures.
  • High performance I/O subsystem includes four VME expansion slots, Ethernet and two SCSI channels with disk striping support.
  • Seven graphics configuration:
  • S, no display, only server
  • Entry with LG1/2 board and VME adaptator, the same board as the Indigo
  • Express, ELAN board and vme adaptator, same board as the indigo
  • Clover2,GTX and GTX(B) boardset
  • Powervision, VGX and VGXT boardset
  • Venice, Reality Engine boardset

Notes

Crimson memory is unique to this model;

This system minimal configuration is about two cards:



- IP17

This card support the CPU with his L2 memory cache, 1Mb, the R4000 100Mhz or R4400 150Mhz and the memory sub-system.

The bus frequency is half of the core speed, 50Mhz or 75Mhz

The difference between the two flavor is about the prom revision ,and some different logic on the board, an upgrade is possible by swapping the CPU and the crystal to obtaint a 120Mhz one

The Crimson does not support any MC2 , the main memory is locked at 256Mb.

The Crimson only support only one IP17 board.


- IO3b

It's the Input Outut board and support:;

  • two SCSI channels driven with Western Digital 33C93, one for internal and on for external devices.

you van found 2 centronic connector on the chassis.

  • 4 Serial ports
  • 1 parallel port
  • AUI 10Mb ethernet port
  • 3 Powered Peripheral Ports (8 Pin DIN)



VGX(T) configuration, AKA POWERVISION

The VGX(T) Graphics PIPE is the first on who support hardware texture mapping.

The VGX was released in the end of 1989, followed by his evolution, the GVXT (T seem to mean Turbo, because of the fill rate ehancement)

The VGX(T) was designed to support IrisGL, it was a really powerfull gfx pipe before the introduction of the Reality Engine, but it lake a poor Texture memory size, 256Kb.

The pipe is composed with theses cards:




  • GM3 and GM3b, the pipe headquarter, driven with a motorola 68020 16Mhz, a surge of the old 68k workstation.

the GM3 and GM3b have a DB9 serial port, you can plug a serial terminal to acces to the internal monitoring

It job is to dispatch the data and GL instruction to the GE and RM.




  • GE6 is the Geometry Engine Board, it comtain 8 texas instrument DSP, each rated for 32Mflops, but the documentations talk about 4 GE chips, in fact 4 are used for the T&L and 4 other are used for other geometrics operation.




  • RM2 and RM3, these card have the same function, the RM2 is used on VGX, and the RM3 is used on the VGXT.

the Raster Manager job is to do representation of the 3D data in 2D, it containt the Framebuffer, Texture and Zbuffer memory.

20 IMP3 (image processor chip) for VGX and IMP5 for VGXT do the rasterisation and it work with tiles for each IMP

the differences between VGX and VGXT are included in the RM board:

  • RM3 do highter texel fill rate, 50Mpiexel/s vs 17Mpixel/s
  • RM3 do per pixel fog and haze computations, RM2 don't
  • RM3 do per pixel perspective correction for textures, RM2 don't
  • RM3 do better Tram usage, and can span memory boundaries, RM2 don't

VGX and VGXT support 1 or 2 Raster Manager board (RM2 and RM3), this permit to twice the pixel performance.




  • DG1 do the digital to analog conversion to drive the display, it contain the RAMDAC




  • DG/VX1 permit to use two GVX(T) pipe in one rack, and to drive one or two display. this is a part of a rack system configuration named SKYWRITER



Some GM3 can work with VGXT boardset, but RM2 cannot be mixed with RM3 board

External links